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04-09-2003, 07:41 PM
If I was teaching Aikido primarily for self defense with reasonable competence in less than a year I would reduce the number of techniques to a select few and drill. What would those techniqes be and can jthe above be done.

My view is that yes it can and I would concentrate on the atemi waza of Shodokan, the idea of sen no sen timing and lot's of tsukuri drills.

Michael Neal
04-09-2003, 09:04 PM
This is from a beginners perspective.

In my view the best techniques to focus on at first for self defense would be the short varieties of irimi nage, shiho nage, short varieites of Kote gaeshi, maybe a few of the quick and easier kokyu nages and koshi nage.

What I find the most difficult are the techniques that requires uke to move off the line as nage is attacking like in Tenchinage. It must take many many years to know that nage is going to go for Ryoute dori and not somehing else. Techniques that work better in close to static situations I think are more useful for a beginner.

However, I think that the practice of these more difficult techniques must start early so that they will become effective over the years so that explains why all the advanced techniques are taught along side the beginning techniques.

I am not sure how you would teach the basic self defense techniques without hurting the growth of these other advanced techniques over the years.

Michael Neal
04-09-2003, 09:23 PM
Your idea might work if you dedicated maybe 30 minutes to drilling in basic easy to use techniques and then the rest of tha class go into the standard syllabus. Or you could have 1 full class a week that focuses on the self defense.

04-09-2003, 09:35 PM
I do Aikido for the whole package - long term and short term and therefore really don't see myself dedicating six months to a year to produce a self defense "competent". I think I could and more to the point I could adjust according to overall need. More advanced techniques and all round Aikido more time required for that competent level in self defence. Still as an exercise - if you were going for the six months to a year time frame ....

I would stay clear of shihonage for sure and less time on kotegaishi. Seeing what works in Shiai these two are far from easy. The atemi waza that I mentioned are basically your short irimi nage - so we agree there.

04-09-2003, 10:24 PM
Yeah, the Shodokan atemi waza seems like a good place to start...I can see where something like shomen ate would be easier to pull out of the hat. While we're on the subject of the 17 basic randori techniques, how does waki gatame and mae otoshi usually pan out in shiai? Two of my personal favorites...


04-09-2003, 11:00 PM
Wakegatame is one of those techniques which I almost always seem to have done to me but can't pull off myself with any regularity. Still it is a great technique from a self defense perspective when tossing away your attacker has its problems. It can be employed in a number of directions making it very useful when tanto (punch) is being withdrawn. Of course the big question is can you get hold of that arm.

Mae-otoshi, shihonage (tenkai kotegaeshi) and ushiro-ate (and by extention shime waza) all have a common mid point which is a great place to be if you can manage it. However, I can't help but feel that to get there requires the aggressor to unbalance themselves somewhat. With the exception of ushiro-ate (which can by-pass that mid point) I would not recommend these as primary techniques.

04-10-2003, 06:22 AM
- katate dori nikkyo - easy to do and enables a quick escape

- tenchi-nage (with palm strike to chin/nose)

- kote-gaeshi (gets you out of way and always option to break wrist)

- ikkyo (especially from rear chokes - a very common attack on women).

- katate dori sankyo (going under arm rather than into ikkyo first- very simple)

- how to do a simple rear choke

- irimi-nage (with choke/neck break to finish)


- yokomen uchi attack to neck (may need to develop strength for this)

- palm strike to nose/chin

- punch to jaw (vertical fist)

- punch to solar plexus(vertical fist/single knuckle)

- kick to groin/knee

body reactions:

-moving off centre-line


- extension excercises (just extending against partner)

Most of these techniques can be effective very quickly, espcially if done viciously. Military self-defence tactics usually focus on striking the neck as hard and as many times as possible until they are down and then kicking them in the temple.

I feel it is a shame leaving sokumen irimi nage out since it is such a useful technique, however I think it can take some time to learn.

mike lee
04-10-2003, 11:46 AM
I would work on very aggressive bokken training for one year. Then, at the very end, teach only iriminage, shihonage and ikkyo.

04-13-2003, 09:29 AM
i would suggest tai sabaki, very useful in avoiding attack and run simultaneously

04-13-2003, 01:30 PM
Certainly it is possible from a technique point of view; to enable a student to be mentally/psychologically prepared to defend him/herself is certainly possible as well. The critical thing in that aspect is for the student to learn confidence in himself and in the effectiveness of the technique.

As for techniques; I agree with the others. Short; quick, simple moves such as:

> Nikkyo (my personal favourite ;) ), Katate-tori and katate-kosa-tori variations; static and dynamic.

> Sankyo, mune-tsuki, yokomenuchi and shomenuchi variations.

> Kote-oroshi.

> Udi-kiri-oroshi (Ridiculously easy; devilishly effective)

> DEFINITELY tae-sabaki, and lots of it.

> Dunno what it's called; but I find it nifty and effective in randori: Starts off like a kaiten-nage, then once you have uke bent over; switch to a sort of udi-kiri (hands at wrist and elbow)and drop him to the floor in the path of the next uke. (Dunno if that one has a name; but I'd teach it; if only to sponsor the creative thinking necessary for good self-defence.)

...And lots and lots of hitori-waza and Randori.

Interesting topic, Peter; thanx!


04-15-2003, 10:30 PM
I would work on very aggressive bokken training for one year.
Interesting. Mike, is this so they'll be able to beat people up with a large stick, or is this for purposes of getting them to get their damn hands up and covering their centerline quickly? I'm genuinely curious as to what skill set you intend to develop with very aggressive bokken (bokuto :) ) training.

Good, useful set of comments so far. I'm quite keen on hearing from more aikido instructors who actually have had to instruct a useable set of aikido skills within a relatively short time. Please don't let this thread die...hell, I'll even throw in a free case of beer...


mike lee
04-17-2003, 02:46 AM
Interesting. Mike, is this so they'll be able to beat people up with a large stick, or is this for purposes of getting them to get their damn hands up and covering their centerline quickly?


Also for footwork.

Although many beginning students may not be aware of it, the bokken is one of the best personal training tools we have.

In many cases, the bokken can be thought of as uke's arm. The cutting action is very similar to the motion used in ikkyo and shihonage. Thrusting actions are similar to iriminage.

Bokken training also strengthens wrists, arms and shoulders developing ki in the practiioner.

Yes. Raising both arms quickly and strongly is one of the simplest and best self-defense measures we have in aikido. I've thrown a number of trained fighters (including the much over-rated boxer) with just such an action.

04-17-2003, 04:17 AM
Bit worried about the emphasis some have made on wrist techniques as an effective self-defence method in the short-term. The hand/wrist is a very small, fast moving target and can be easily missed. I prefer to keep the torso as the target area so I should end up with some body part as a useful lever even if my aim/attackers response meant I mucked up.

Specific techniques? If the time period you're considering is tight, just 2 - kokyu-nage and tenchi-nage from any attack you can come up with. Make them as direct and minimalist as possible, pointing out all the "soft-body" parts available for further persuasive argument (never used in out dojo of course - we're Ki :D )

mike lee
04-17-2003, 04:40 AM
Once again, the question was about "reasonable competence in less than one year."

The trouble in aikido training is that people are barely competent in taking ukemi after 18 months of training. This single aspect absorbs a lot of time and attention for the student who may only train on average 3 hours per week so in the interest of expediency (ideally), I would all but eliminate ukemi practice for the first year (with the exception of the back-fall), and concentrate entirely on movements that are basic, practical and immediately useful.

In addition, if one has only a limited amount of dojo time per week (say 3 hours), students could then take the innitiative by using the bokken training they learn and practice on their own for at least an hour a day at home or in a park.

The way most people traditionally learn at the beginning level, there's very little they can do on their own that leads to much benefit in so far as genuine self-defense.

Many schools don't even let students touch a bokken until students are shodan. It's truly a pity.

It's important to note that in the early days of aikido in Japan, most people already had some basic training in martial arts, including kendo. I don't believe that our current training methods in aikido account for the fact that 90% of new students have absolutely no previous martial-arts training. Today, we are producing black belts in aikido that still have no basic martial-arts skills. We've got the cart before the horse.

If I could train students my way for the first year, they would be far more skilled and competent than most shodan, although admittedly knowing far fewer techniques. The strength would be in the simplicity.

Mary Eastland
04-17-2003, 07:21 AM
When I teach self-defense I use hardly any Aikido techniques. The length of the class I teach is ten weeks. I do focus on Aikido principles, expecially good posture, using strong voice and finding your center. The techniques I teach are much simpler, more devastating and don't require fine motor skills or a well developed center.

I find my training in SD an extension of my Aikido training. While I believe in least possible harm, I had to honestly evaulate my past as a woman and a survivor of rape and childhood abuse and find something that made me feel safer faster than Aikido could. This allowed me to relax into my Aikido training and become very strong as only long term training can do.


Jason Tonks
04-17-2003, 07:35 AM
Mike has raised some good points here. The both hands raised in the air very quickly is a very powerful technique that I've found leads very well straight into other techniques. I know from talking with my Sensei that the late master, Kenshiro Abbe Sensei emphasised this when he taught at the Hut. As Mike indicated, Bokken training is of immense value, emphasising correct posture, breathing, strengthening shoulders, wrists and arms. The other thing that Bokken training emphasises is the correct focused mindset of a warrior. There is a great picture of O'Sensei in posture holding a Bokken that says it all really.

All the best

Jason T